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$1,100 multi-use pc advice

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April 15, 2009 7:15:09 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: end of may BUDGET RANGE: $1,100 MAX - everything, including monitor
could do $1,200 for a compelling reason

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3d modelling, CAD, illustrator and photoshop CS4 all essential ... gaming optional

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: everything required

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg seems like the way to go

PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference

OVERCLOCKING: builder newbie... maybe in the future as upgrade (?) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: maybe in the future (?)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: no monitor yet, need about 22"

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
this is my first pc build and i am definately an amateur, so please try and keep excessive jargon down.
i would prefer a see-through case to view my handiwork - silly, but i would still like it. goofy LEDs not required.
i would like this pc to be easily upgradable in the future, maybe two years.
i do not fully understand the PSU and how much power i actually need or would need in the future. advice on that would be helpful.
as said, gaming is not a priority, but i do a lot of high-polygon 3d modelling, and that requires realtime panning and zooming and the like (rhino and 3dsmax). i also render, mainly with the maxwell rendering engine.

thanks to yoyojam55 for advice on a previous post. most of the parts here are from his suggestions, but i changed a few myself because my price limit has shrunk.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$385

512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$100

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$110

Western Digital WD6401AALS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75

LG DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$30

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25

AZiO AWD154a IEEE 802.11b/g PCI 802.11g 54Mbps Wireless PCI Adapter Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$13

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$100

mouse, keyboard
$12

thats $830, without case or monitor, after rebates.

note: yoyojam55 had originally suggested this:

Core i7 920 and Gigabye mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$524

Cooler Master Elite Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

i downgraded to save money and because i just want a case with a view, which may be stupid but i don't care. am i hurting myself in the future (and also my upgrade options) by going down to an intel core 2 quad, or alternatively would an AMD chip be better for my situation?

thanks to everyone on the forums, and especially to yoyojam55 and proximon for the excellent Guide to Choosing Parts.

More about : 100 multi advice

April 15, 2009 7:44:40 AM

You don't have an upgrade path with that CPU you have chosen. It is an excellent CPU, but you can't go anywhere with it. If you are ok with starting over with a fresh MB and ram as well next time you upgrade then you can use the Q9550, as its probably top one of the 6 CPU's out there currently. Otherwise if you can't afford an i7 and want an upgrade path, you should go AM3...but wait for the release of the PII 945/950 which should be sometime soon.

I would go for the 750tx for upgrade options, it will be able to handle more powerful GPU's and has more connectors as well.

Cheap decent windowed case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I think I would get the Antec 900 though for build quality and airflow:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cheap wireless cards are so slow, you need one that has a strong signal if you want it to be speedy:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LCD monitors to consider:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
April 15, 2009 7:56:41 AM

Do this combo for the PSU:
Antec 900 AND TPQ-850 - $50 discount
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Your PSU choice is excellent but this is a very nice one as well and will leave you more headroom for future expansion. The case will be just what you need.

Historically, AMD drivers don't play as well with professional programs compared to nVidia. Ideally, you want a workstation card, but those aren't in your price range. Now, AMD has made some driver improvements, but as far as I know they haven't really addressed the whole CAD/Adobe/Maya/whatever thing. So maybe you should go nVidia.

EVGA GTS 250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
April 15, 2009 8:40:21 AM

i7 build

Start feeling compelled. :)  This is a build you want to give some serious thought to... The vid card in this build out performs the 4850 you had chosen, not to mention this card consumes less power, and produces a lot less heat. This build is set up for you to be able to upgrade and run two of these cards together in SLI . You really can't go wrong with this build by looking at what you plan on using your PC for. Also I would like to point out that the case used in this build is a steal at this price. It has great cooling/ventilation/airflow, not to mention plenty of room for running two of those vid cards in SLI in the future. It's a quality case no doubt.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99 ($74.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 ($184.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://antaresdigital.com/customer/product.php?producti... $274.00
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Socket 8MB Cache CPU, 4.8GT/Sec, Soket LGA 1366, Retail Box. Part#: BX80601920

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99 Free Shipping*
XFX GS250XYDFC GeForce GTS 250 512MB Core Edition 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99 ($149.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Total: $1,254.89 | $1,209.88 w/rebates

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-nvidia-sli-mo... <=== Gigabyte: Enable SLI On X58 Boards
April 15, 2009 9:36:34 AM

1) If you want much better performance plus data security, then upgrade the hard drives to 2-500GB drives and run them in Raid. I tell everyone about Intel's Matrix Raid which allows you to create 2 different Raid arrays on one set of drives. So, for you with 2 drives, you can do a Raid 1 which mirrors the data on both drives so if one fails, you don't lose your data or time reinstalling/restoring. Put your important data on the Raid 1 and then put your non-important data, such as scratch disk, on the Raid 0. If you don't care about your OS & Apps, then put that on the Raid 0 also and your performance will be impacted FAR more than upgrading anything else in your PC.
2) For CAD/3d work, you can save yourself a lot of $$ and get a nvidia 8800GTS 640MB and 'soft-mod' it to a Quadro FX4600. Since this card is 2 yrs old, you should be able to find it for cheap. This card soft-modded blows away even the best current consumer gfx cards in 3d work. One of the most important aspects to 3d work is the amount of VRAM. This is why the 640MB is much better than the 320MB version. I have a 8800GT(G92) that I wanted to soft-mod but it appears that the 8800GTS is the last card nvidia didn't laser-cut. Nvidia started laser-cutting or etching with the G92 chips thus disabling soft-mods. However, I found some promising info tonight about flashing the BIOS of an 8800GT 512MB/1GB to a FX3700. If this works on my 512MB, I will get the 1GB asap for my After Effects work.

To save some more $$$, go with the Q8200 or Q8300 and a Zalman 9700 heatsink/fan and overclock the cpu to 3.0-3.2GHz. Both the Q8200 & Q8300 have a ton of good combos @ newegg to chose from including the Q8300 + ASUS P5Q Pro motherboard for $295(after $15 off) and also Q8300 + PC Power & Cooling 750w for $275(after $20 off). PC Power & Cooling are the highest quality PSUs on the market.

For both AMD & Intel within the next 2 yrs, they will both have something a little different available due to them both coming out with CPU+GPU on a single die. I highly doubt the current motherboards will be able to support this configuration; therefore, I wouldn't worry about upgrade path within the next 2 years.
April 15, 2009 10:44:35 AM

thanks for all the replies.

i think for now it will be better for me to stick with one hard drive, as i am a little inexperienced.

also, i am a little wary of overclocking, though i know that it is a very useful tool. i plan on overclocking maybe a year or so into the computer to improve performance, since i don't think a brand new computer should really need to be tweaked right out of the box. again, this is an experience thing, and i am a firm believer in taking things one step at a time. first step is building a computer - next step is adding a heatsink and overclocking.

anyways, i think the argument for the i7 is pretty good, but i have concerned - see below. i am also convinced to switch to the nVidia gts-250 - many people seem to believe that, and the driver thing is a clincher.

but i still have two questions
1: the big one: if i do NOT get an i7 i will have to replace the CPU, the motherboard and the RAM later on. is this a bad thing to do? after a certain amount of time i'll have to upgrade, and i hear a lot about overclocking and upgradability but also how in 2 years things may be different and not to worry about upgrade paths. i also would expect to buy a computer i don't have to upgrade until at least 2 years. it seems that once you factor in the DDR3 RAM as well it is a $250 difference to buy the i7 now, which to me is fairly large.

2: what exactly will the difference be to me between 650W, 750W and 850W? this seems to be a money point as well.
April 15, 2009 2:30:18 PM

Why_me, you've blow his budget to kingdom come, and left off the window he says he wants. I7 does not look feasible here at all.
There is a side-window panel available for the CM-RC690; I think it is another $25. That's an excellent case, but by default does not include a window.
April 15, 2009 3:10:37 PM

Why_Me said:
i7 build

Start feeling compelled. :)  This is a build you want to give some serious thought to... The vid card in this build out performs the 4850 you had chosen, not to mention this card consumes less power, and produces a lot less heat. This build is set up for you to be able to upgrade and run two of these cards together in SLI . You really can't go wrong with this build by looking at what you plan on using your PC for. Also I would like to point out that the case used in this build is a steal at this price. It has great cooling/ventilation/airflow, not to mention plenty of room for running two of those vid cards in SLI in the future. It's a quality case no doubt.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99 ($74.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 ($184.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://antaresdigital.com/customer/product.php?producti... $274.00
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Socket 8MB Cache CPU, 4.8GT/Sec, Soket LGA 1366, Retail Box. Part#: BX80601920

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99 Free Shipping*
XFX GS250XYDFC GeForce GTS 250 512MB Core Edition 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99 ($149.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Total: $1,254.89 | $1,209.88 w/rebates

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-nvidia-sli-mo... <=== Gigabyte: Enable SLI On X58 Boards


There are combo deals that will bring the price down:

1. Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
2. GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Combo Price: $468.98
Combo Discount: -$20.00

Get this DVD burner instead
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20.99 Free shipping

You can get this case:
NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$99.99 ($79.99 after $20.00 Mail-In rebate)
For that price it's awesome, comes with dust filters and with 6 fans.

Isn't the nvidia 250 the 9800 gt just renamed?
Get this instead
MSI N9800GT-T2D512-OC V2 GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$114.99


April 15, 2009 5:13:10 PM

Getting the CPU and motherboard in a combo is a great idea, but I have to disagree on the IDE DVD burner suggestion. It's worth $4 to go with a SATA drive. An IDE drive just adds a big ribbon cable to block airflow.

The GTX 250 is based off of the 9800GTX+, not the 9800GT.
April 15, 2009 6:37:24 PM

Why are you already planning to upgrade in only 2 years? You do realize that the i7 920 CPU shows the biggest gains over the Q9550 in the applications you want to use the most (3d modelling, CAD, illustrator and photoshop CS4)? So, I don't see how the $200 premium for an i7 system is a waste of money for you. It would be a waste if all you are building is a gaming rig.

Regardless of what you build, you would only need to upgrade it in 2 years, if you were unhappy with its performance for those 2 years. So, why not get the best now that can easily handle the apps you want to use and will do so for many years?
April 15, 2009 6:50:08 PM

Onus said:
Why_me, you've blow his budget to kingdom come, and left off the window he says he wants. I7 does not look feasible here at all.
There is a side-window panel available for the CM-RC690; I think it is another $25. That's an excellent case, but by default does not include a window.


I must be missing something here ? The Op said he would go up to $1,200 on his budget if he felt "compelled". Now this is part of the OP's post here...and quote;

"gaming is not a priority, but i do a lot of high-polygon 3d modelling, and that requires realtime panning and zooming and the like (rhino and 3dsmax). i also render, mainly with the maxwell rendering engine."

And her is another quote from the OP's post; "APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: end of may BUDGET RANGE: $1,100 MAX - everything, including monitor
could do $1,200 for a compelling reason."


Ok I might be wrong here (but I know I'm not), but the i7 is like the perfect solution as to what the OP's needs are and the programs he uses. In fact I posted a quality i7 build on here for $1,200 including monitor and wire less card if you include the rebates.

And the optional side window for the CM 690 your speaking of is this one down here.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99
COOLER MASTER RA-690-KWN2-GP CM 690 clear side panel with one 120 mm blue LED fan - Retail

Or the OP may like something a bit more flashy for the same price as the CM 690 w/ side window like this Antec 900 down below....

http://www.securemart.com/SMA0092053?mv_pc=20&mv_specia... $74.48
Antec Nine Hundred Chassis - Mid-tower
April 17, 2009 7:50:24 AM

I've taken your advice into account here and come up with a possible build.

Chip and motherboard:
Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz
EVGA 132-BL-E758-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$469

PSU:
Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75

Video CarD:
XFX Geforce GTS 250 512mb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$130

RAM:
Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Cavair Black 640mb 7200 RPM 32MB cache SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75

Optical Drive:
LG Black 20X DVD+R 2mb cache SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25

Wireless:
Edimax Wireless Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$35

Case:
Antec 900
http://www.securemart.com/SMA0092053?mv_pc=20&mv_specia...
$75

Monitor:
Asus VW224U 22" black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$150

Vista 64-bit:
$100

total: $1,174.
with a new mouse and keyobard, that should be a nice $1,200.

how does this look? with an i7 i think the budget has to be $1,200, and it seems like an i7 now will save me time and money later.

i plan on ordering in the next few weeks (the goal is for it to arrive on june 1st), so all told one or two of these rebates or combos will probably go away and i'll have to shuffle a few things, but for comparable parts. but for now here it is.
April 17, 2009 2:47:06 PM

I am currently working on the same type of project but I do want a gaming rig also. Heres what I ended up with.

Still have a few questions and I dont wanna Hi-Jack your thread but sounds like we are doing this same thing here. I spent a little more but think each component I have is a little more soild. Sometimes its worth it... what does everything think?

Some benefits over what youve made:
two drives for raid config which would help you a lot.
Better graphics card - not that big of a deal for you.
Better expandable board
More ram better timings - help you a lot too
Great cooler for more Ocing options
All for less than $200 more.... I know its pushing the budget but it buys you more upgradability and maybe another year on the unit.



Core I7 920 - hoping for DO step --- anyone know how to improve my chances?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115202

Asus P6T Deluxe v2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131365

Antec 900
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129021

Dark Knight Cooler - was considering above mention Zalman 9700 - any additional comments on these? What thermal paste is good right now?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233029

2 WD black 640 drives for above mentioned raid config
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136319

EVGA GTX 260 - cost driven... can always upgrade later as needed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814130372

Corsair Tx650 - Should I get the 750?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139005

OCZ 3X2GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820227381

DVD Burner???? - throw me some suggestions please.

Total once the burner is in there is about at $1200 PLUS $150 for 22 asus monitor


Also if there are some small price movements on any of the items up or down that you think would be best let me know. still got about $200 either way I can play with.
April 18, 2009 9:12:55 AM

i think things are getting a little out of hand on the pricing side.

i don't want to waffle back and forth on the i7 versus a quad core, but it seems that if i am going to spend the extra money to build an i7 i should really do it right, and not use cheap parts with a fancy processor put in there. the problem is i can't really afford a lot of expensive parts. i am noticing more and more that the problem isn't so much the i7 itself, but the motherboard and the ram that go with it.

if i can scrounge the money in the next month i'll go i7, but otherwise i need other choices. i'm just a poor grad student...

so - can anyone give me advice on a NOT i7 system? some of you guys are saying that an i7 is just not feasible, and i had some people tell me on a previous posting that an i7 may be excessive for my needs. then other people tell me the opposite, and both sides seem to make sense.

i have two options here that looked decent:
from my first build:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$385

possible AMD build:
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$275

noone's really mentioned AMD except xthekidx, and he told me to wait for the 945/950, which may not be out in time for me to buy (end of may). it seems that they are pretty comparable to the core 2 quad, this one i selected is overclockable, and just plain cheaper. any thoughts?

and please, can someone give me some advice on the PSU? i assume that 650W will be enough, not being a hardcore gamer, and i shouldn't worry about more than that.
April 18, 2009 9:26:11 AM

the 9550 will perform better in the programs you use but if thats worth $110 thats upto you.
April 18, 2009 10:52:52 AM

I stand by my original statement :)  You should not plan to crossfire and get the best nVidia card you can swing.

Pretty good current combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

In fact, since you want some decent performance, I would say the PII 940 build will leave you more cash for the video card, and so end up being the better performing build when it's done.
April 18, 2009 11:34:51 AM

:bounce: 

http://www.securemart.com/SMA0092053?mv_pc=20&mv_specia... $74.48
Antec Nine Hundred Chassis - Mid-tower

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 ($44.99 after $25.00 Mail-In Rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Free 4GB flash drive with purchase, ends 4/30

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99 ($99.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail / 2 oz copper PCB + Easy Tune 6 for OC

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=Q9400 $208.50
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9400 2.66GHz 1333MHz 6MB LGA775 CPU, OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99 ($29.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99 Free Shipping*
XFX GX260XADJF GeForce GTX 260 Core Edition Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $42.99
G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99 ($149.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Total: $1,125.88 | $1,055.88 w/rebates *not including shipping
April 18, 2009 7:21:51 PM

Nice Why_me, but the Sunbeam CCTF doesn't work real well with the UD3R... the heatsinks will interfere with the installation. They don't collide with the cooler, they just prevent your fingers from pressing down the clips.
AMD boards or non-P45 boards have more room for fingers around the socket.
April 18, 2009 9:58:36 PM

also after you add the $25 for shipping the Antec 900 is basically the same price as newegg and you get it all together... $10 bucks is $10 bucks I guess but still....
April 19, 2009 1:17:03 AM

For 3D work, you really want to stay as far away from regular video cards as possible. I don't know if I or anyone else has mentioned the TomsHardware article released a few days ago comparing the GTS 280 against Workstation cards. The GTS 280 gets blown away by the $150 ATI V3600. The workstation cards are 5-10 times as powerful in 3D programs, Also, remember the 8800GTS 640 can be 'soft-modded' to a FX4600 and that should be found for cheap. Also, the 8800GTS can easily be switched back to regular mode if you wanted to play games. It doesn't matter what CPU you have, a the video card will be the largest factor in speed for 3D programs.

I don't see why you don't go with the Q8200/8300 and OC it. The Q8200 is only $130 at Microcenter and they ship too.

The next area that will give you much better performance is using a combo of Raid 0 and Raid 1 or just use Raid 0. Believe me, once you go Raid, you never go back.
April 19, 2009 8:17:19 AM

okay -

i think i'm going to go with the intel Q9550 core 2 quad. that will make things cheaper, and then i can use the money for a better video card, like the Geforce 260. i'll also get another hard drive and RAID it - i looked it up and that seems like the way to go and not too difficult (thanks specialk90).

it won't have the upgradability of the i7, but it will last a while and i can still get a cooler and overclock later, or get another gpu and run in SLI. right?

the ATI V3600 looks enticing, but i have to admit that i'm a little confused about the difference between the workstation card and the normal card. i don't care too much about games, but i wonder if the workstation card might be too specific, and a normal card just has more flexibility. also, i'm doing some fairly complex things, but i am still a student - the workstation may be way overkill. if i'm wrong please tell me, because the V3600 is in the right price range.

[also - do workstation cards not work at all in gaming? it would be nice to at least be able to play a few games on my new computer, its just not a priority. i don't see a lot of info on this.]

as for the soft-modding, i'd rather do as little modding as possible on my first build.
April 19, 2009 8:41:54 AM

If you don't game then get the workstation card, it will be much better for your uses.
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